From her first appearance on our screens as Disney’s Hannah Montana to swinging from a wrecking ball and twerking at the VMA’s, Miley Cyrus has never been one to shy away from controversy. Now that 2020 is behind us, we think that everyone should be channelling their inner Miley for 2021, and here’s why…
First of all, if there is anyone to look to for their unashamed individuality, it’s Miss Cyrus. Her incredible cool-girl androgynous style and history of speaking publicly about identifying as pansexual and gender fluid epitomizes how Miley proudly does not give a damn what others think of her.
As a proud feminist and advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, Miley founded The Happy Hippie Foundation in 2014, an organisation that works to help those affected by youth homelessness and by supporting members of the LGBTQ+ community.
In 2019, Miley released the music video for Mother’s Daughter, one of the singles on her She Is Coming EP. In the video we saw Cyrus clad in a red vinyl catsuit with vaginal teeth, joined by several prominent feminists and LGBTQ+ activists with opening statements flashing up in red including ‘every woman is a riot’ and ‘virginity is a social construct’. The video was raved about by critics as a feminist masterpiece, a stark contrast to the headlines which followed her Bangerz tour in 2013 which speculated whether Cyrus was having a mental breakdown, coming out as a lesbian, or on drugs.
This begs the question of whether Miley has always been one step ahead and that in fact society just hadn’t caught up back then, in a time before gay marriage was legalized in the UK. In a Rolling Stones interview the singer did at that time, she stated ‘I know what I’m doing. I know I’m shocking you’, then went on to say that ‘there’s no one thing that defines what beauty is’. Touché Miley, touché.
In a society learning to move forward from trapping beauty standards and gender norms, isn’t this the attitude we all need?
As a multi-award winning artist, Miley has collaborated in the past with a plethora of incredible musicians such as Mark Ronson, Dua Lipa, and most recently, Elton John, who she announced would be featured on her soon to be released Metallica covers album. In the past, she has produced pop, country, hip-hop, rap and recently rock music, a diverse range that aligns itself with her refusal to be labelled as one thing. Starring in an episode of Netflix’s Black Mirror in 2019, Cyrus played popstar ‘Ashley O’ who struggles under all the pressures from society and the people around her to fit one identity until she eventually can break free. This was a direct critique of her own experience as a child-star for Disney, but also one against society in general that you can be more than one thing at the same time.
In the single Slide Away which was Cyrus’s debut performance after her divorce from ex-husband Liam Hemsworth she sang the lyric ‘move on, we’re not 17/ I’m not who I used to be’. It appears that Miley isn’t afraid of change: changing her look, changing her music, changing her personal life. Change is something we are taught to fear, but as the infamous saying goes adventure starts at the edge of your comfort zone.
So in 2021, we’ll be channelling our inner Miley to try new things and set new goals. Do you have a haircut you’ve always wanted to try but have never dared to do? Have you always wanted to learn an instrument or start a new sport? Then this is your sign – be a little Miley and push the limits of who you think you are. It’s 2021, and you can be exactly whoever you want to be.
Maybe think before you go for the full mullet though…
Words by Becca Seib